Just what is “Time Management” anyway?

We weren’t there but have a strong suspicion that the concept of time came to someone’s mind somewhere between when dinosaurs were eating tops of trees, sinners were picking fruit and fire was discovered. It’s probably safe to say that “principles of time management” writings started showing up on the walls of caves not long after the thought originally arrived. Fast forward a few million years, after books, audios and more were invented, and content regarding the subject of managing time still continues to find places to be published.

We suggest that the cave walls be sand blasted and the books burned; that there can be no such thing as time management…

It seems a safe assumption that, for a very long time, our earth has been revolving at the same rate, day and night taking turns, with a full cycle completing in what we’re calling “24 hours” now. For billions of years we’ve never “managed” anything about that. The day is still the same length that it always was.

Knowing about these things as we do, it’s certain that there’s still someone else out there, writing yet another book about time management…..We must’ve missed something along the way.

We’d like to suggest a new distinction. Instead of thinking in terms of managing time, which is planning, following schedules and looking at clocks, that we begin thinking more in terms of developing “activities management” skills for our lives.

Have you ever lived this day?…. a) accomplished absolutely everything you set out to do, b) things you had scheduled all seemed to fall into place, c) you were exhausted at the end of it, d) but felt that no real impact was achieved?

When the above (a-d) occurs, it’s likely because our activities management (patent pending) is broken. In other words, we selected tasks to complete that don’t really count for much but, “once we get those done”, then “we’re going to get to the things that matter.” Sadly, what we’re doing is prioritizing trivial tasks first and often not spending any, or very little, time on important items…. This could be another definition of insanity.

Time is a valuable resource, but as discussed we don’t manage time we merely utilize it. We manage our activities. Understanding the distinction between the two seems quite important…

Have you ever taken the approach to a day (or perhaps many days) that, “I’ll just take care of these less important, often trivial, tasks then get to the important stuff later?” The trivial tasks list (lengthy at times) is ever-so-admirably accomplished and (too) much of the day is devoted to them. Then when it’s time to address the important items, physical and mental energy and even the level of interest has diminished or may have been entirely depleted. Then TAD arrives (“tomorrow’s another day”) sets in, and the whole cycle is duplicated once again the following day(s). We’ve established behavior, a habit, the method of operation.

People who enjoy successful and satisfying lives do things much differently than many others. They tend to understand and value time but don’t try to manage it. They carefully select, then manage their activities. They approach and live their days usually addressing only important subjects, things that legitimately are going to have a positive impact. They try not to do little things at all….ever.

What’s being encouraged here is the idea of reviewing how the selection and management of your daily activities is currently working for your life. Once the decision to strive for improvement and desire to become more effective is made, a corresponding mind shift begins to occur. After all, how you’ve been managing your activities has now become habit. And we know how difficult bad habits can be to change.

Cramming important things to be done towards the end of afternoons, days or tomorrow is never the best way. Use time. Then carefully select, manage and do the activities that make a difference:

IMPORTANT THINGS DONE FIRST … TRIVIAL THINGS DONE NEVER

(whenever possible)!!

We’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts?

Jim Campbell – In-The-Flow-Marketing